Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Gifts

[As part of the final project for the School of the Spirit, the teachers asked us each to write a narrative describing the particular gifts we bring to the ministry of spiritual nurture, not to exceed two pages.]

I don’t think I can talk about the gifts that I bring to a ministry of spiritual nurture without first saying something about how I have come to understand gifts.  Gifts are from God, and God prepares the person for the gift through life experiences, good and bad.  God gives these gifts to an individual for the community.  If we don’t have a shared understanding that gifts are for the community, it can be easy to fall into envy or a tendency to admire and isolate the person with the gift, which keeps the community from fully receiving the benefits and taking on the responsibilities of the gift.

A few months ago, I took an online test called, “What are my spiritual gifts?”  I did it for fun, because another friend had recommended it.  After answering all the questions, the program listed my spiritual gifts as follows:
  • Intercession/Prayer
  • Faith
  • Writing
  • Prophecy
  • Knowledge
I laughed when I read the list and thought it was a little spooky, because those seem right.

Prophecy.  Prophecy has been the hardest gift for me to accept, and the one that has been most present for me through the School of the Spirit program.  It has almost become a joke that visiting teachers and persons of presence come in and suggest that I have the gift of prophecy.  It is a scary gift, because prophets say powerful and disturbing things, and the people who hear their messages do not seem to like them much.  For me, I think it means speaking truth, all the time.  I don’t always know when something I have said is prophetic, but I know that I must speak up and say true things.  I believe that I am growing in this.

Intercession/Prayer.  Prayer comes naturally to me and is a full-body experience for me.  I grew up surrounded by prayer, in my home, school, and church, and it feels like the obvious response to the things that happen in life.  I do not understand how intercessory prayer works, but I believe that it does.  I also know that my gift in vocal prayer has touched people, particularly those who do not have much experience with vocal prayer.

Writing.  I know that I am fortunate in being able to write easily and well.  This is also the gift I have that has benefited from the most formal training.  As a literature major in college and through law school, I worked hard to become the best writer I could be.  I don’t think that my teachers and professors expected that I would use those skills in ministry, but I am glad to have them.  Through writing, I am able to reach people that I would not be able to reach otherwise, and my messages can have more of a lasting impact.

Knowledge.  I think that the gift of knowledge is somewhat related to the gift of prophecy.  It is also a hard one to describe.  I am an empath, intuitive, and bright, and that sometimes makes me seem like a mind reader.  While I can’t actually read other people’s minds, I do sometimes experience their emotions, particularly when I am doing ministry.  I also have an intuitive understanding of systems of power and how to use them, which can make me a good leader and a good instigator.

Faith.  I think this may be my most important gift.  I feel the presence of God all around me, and I see it in others.  I know that God is real, and I help other to feel that presence.  I hope that my faith impacts every decision I make, and that my faith is visible to everyone I encounter.

I am grateful to God for these gifts, even as I struggle to use them faithfully, and I hope and pray that my faith community will give me support and hold me accountable so that I can use them for the good of all.


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